Former rebels integrated into South Sudan National Army

January 29, 2018 Africa , News , OPINION/NEWS

Albert Gonzales Farran photo

 

By

Gift Friday

 

More than two thousand former fighters of the South Sudan National Liberation Movement/Army or SSNLM/A have been integrated into the government’s various organized forces including the army, police, wildlife and prisons services. The former rebels were officially integrated last week in a ceremony held in Yambio Gbudue State in accordance with a peace agreement the group signed with the government in April 2016.

The ex-rebels were trained for more than a year then integrated into South Sudan’s regular forces.

Presidential Advisor, Tut Gatluak, who signed the agreement in 2016 on behalf of the government, presided over the graduation and integration ceremony in Yambio

Speaking after the graduation the spokesperson of the former rebels, Brigadier General Abel Mathew Banga, said the event marked the coming of peace to Gbudue state.

“We assure you we are going to deliver a good service, to this country, the ranks we are putting on, as I am a brigadier now, it is not because I entered the bush, but because I listened and I accepted peace that is the reward I would like to assure you today that   the day of today marks all the crimes that has been happening in Yambio.” Abel said.

Banga said there is no longer SSNLM or SPLA-IO in Gbudue State – only government forces. He warned that no gunmen should continue to terrorize civilians in the area in the name of SSNLM.

The Presidential Advisor Gatluak said the government is committed to implementing the April 2016 agreement.

“We came here today to tell you what we has been implemented in full. We are telling the people of this state we don’t have any problem with you again, you should take care of your states and your people in your various areas of redeployment.” said Gatluak.

Gatluak called on the former rebels to work for peace in their areas of redeployment.

Gbudue State Governor, Daniel Badagbu Rimbasa, said his government will ensure the state remains peaceful.

“My message on this day is the message of peace mark my quotation peace is the only battle worth waging, Time has for us the people of South Sudan to own our peace, the peace we need in this country. We will be the drivers of the peace, no one will do it for us, we will do it ourselves, and this is fruit,” Badagbu said.

Badagbu said his government is open to dialogue with any other armed groups that are yet to lay down their weapons.

He cautioned the citizens from being misled by what he termed as enemies of peace.

“I also need to warn all of you, as you get out today, there are anti-peace [elements] in this country and some of them maybe within the state or in the neighboring country. You need to be very careful.  I don’t want the people of Gbudue state or great Western Equatoria again to be misled. No one should use you the people of this great state for their own selfish interests, specially my comrades.”

Yambio resident, Justin Otovura, said he is pleased with the government for integrating the former rebels into the armed forces and achieving peace in the state.

“I am very happy for the government of the Republic of South Sudan for the hard work to bring those boys home, as before we had no access to go to our farms but these days we have access to go to our farms and to register our children.”

David Dominic Dangami, another Yambio resident, said now that the rebels have been integrated into the government’s organized forces, he expects normalcy will return to the state.

“I am very happy to see the  boys who took up guns to fight for their rights, today I am happy because they are integrated into  heir various forces now we the citizens of this state, of this country, we will be able to go to our normal business, even to cultivate and go to the schools and other things we will not fear again from movements.”

President Kiir ordered the integration of the former fighters into the government’s regular forces late last year and promoted some 140 fighters to various ranks in the various organized forces.

 

 

 

 

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Gift Friday

Freelance Journalist from South Sudan, based in Kampala.

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